Earlier this month, students from Neale-Wade Academy were privileged to welcome Professor Dame Athene Donald, Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Cambridge, to speak at the school.

Professor Dame Athene Donald is Master of Churchill College and Fellow of the Royal Society. She spoke about her life, career, the research she has carried out and life at the University of Cambridge to nearly 60 students from Years 10, 11 and 13.

Some of the themes covered included the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated sector and encouragement for the students attending to aim high and to have the resilience and perseverance to overcome the barriers and challenges they may face.

Sam Mandley, Assistant Principal at Neale-Wade Academy said: “I believe that having speakers from the world of work or academia gives students the opportunities to see the success of others. This builds their self-confidence, pride and aspirations for the future. The education scheme from students was clear to see and we’re extremely grateful to Dame Donald for staying on and answering questions after the presentation.”

One of the Year 13 students who attended said: “Talking to Professor Dame Athene Donald gave me a great insight into how diverse the world of science is. She also showed me that no matter how many obstacles you face, with enough determination and hard work, you can achieve anything.”

The pupil concluded: “She was very kind and happy to share her knowledge and experiences over a cup of tea, I think I’ve found a new role model.”

The visit formed part of the school’s Lecture Series, that aims to engage alumni and academics to inspire and challenge the students.